The main research areas at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile´s Packaging Laboratory are related to Active Packagings, interactions Packaging / Food, nanotechnology and biodegradable packaging. It should be noted that all these areas are not independent, but rather areas that fully complement each other.
The development of active packaging is one of the most important areas of research in recent years. The design of packaging systems to ensure food quality and extend its useful life has a positive impact on food producers as well as the consumers of these. So now the search for new active systems is critical to modern industry. As for the more developed systems are active packaging with antimicrobial activity and oxygen absorbers, ethylene and water.
Interaction package / food
The migration of substances from the package to food is one of the major mass transfer phenomena existing in system package / food. The migration of substances from the package to the food can be decisive in altering the organoleptic properties of food, as well as in affecting the health of consumers in case the substances that migrate presenting any degree of toxicity. In this regard, the use of mathematical models to predict the levels of migration of a substance under specific conditions, has emerged as an important strategy to clarify what would be the migration of the latter to be present in a container in direct contact with food.
The introduction of nanofillers in polymer molds is a innovative alternative for the modification of physical and mechanical properties, thermal and barrier materials. In the food packaging area, control the permeability of gases such as oxygen and water, are critical to determining the quality and shelf life of packaged food. In addition to the above, the use of such nanoscale materials can be enhanced further with the use of substances that impart activity to the polymer material. Thus, the application of these materials in the packaging has great expectations.
The food industry has been recognized as one of the industries with the highest consumption of plastics derived from petroleum. Considering that oil is a nonrenewable resource and plastics derived from oil are poorly assimilated by the environment when they are throw away. The development of new materials that be able to confront these issues is necessary. Thus, the use of biodegradable polymers has emerged as an important alternative for finding materials suitable for application in the food area.